Forum: Speedy appeal avenue for off-label cancer drugs needed in exceptional cases

I refer to the Ministry of Health's (MOH) letter, "Cancer patients can access more affordable care and financial support at public healthcare institutions" (June 27), responding to an article which featured my patient, "Drug used off-label has kept man's brain cancer under control for a year" (June 26).

The drug dabrafenib that my patient is receiving, besides being recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network in the United States for this subset of brain cancer, has also been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since June 22 for cancers with the BRAF V600E mutation (including high grade glioma) that have failed standard treatment.

The article highlights that patients with rare cancers or rare situations in common cancers will be severely affected by the impending change to insurance coverage of drugs not on MOH's Cancer Drug List if exceptions or speedy avenues of appeal are not made available.

Daniel Chan Boon Yeow (Dr)

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